Valletta take Super Cup. Paola out of Europe

Monday, October 18, 2010, 18:46

by Sandro Micallef

Action from the Super Cup final between Valletta Mapei and Defenders Aloysians - Photo by Duncan Cauchi

Action from the Super Cup final between Valletta Mapei and Defenders Aloysians - Photo by Duncan Cauchi

Valletta Mapei won the men’s Super Cup with a hard-fought victory over Defenders Aloysians that ended 3-1 in the Citizen’s favour.

Aloysians strengthened their squad this year with the inclusion of ex-Valletta and national team player Aaron Stivala and Spaniard Ivan Moreno, while champions Valletta retained the same players that won all the honours last season.

A highly balanced first set was going Valletta’s way when the score read 19-15 but Aloysians turned the tables on their opponents to close it off with a 25-23 scoreline to stun the Champions.

In the second set, Valletta settled down and imposed their game, particularly using their high block, allowing little space for their opponents thus allowing them to pull away half way through the set. Effective serving by captain Jonathan Chetcuti and Robert Balzan placed the Aloysians players in difficulty leading the team to a 25-20 victory in this set and leveling the game at 1-1.

The third set was the closest one, with Aloysians opting to stick to their short serving tactics wreaking havoc in Valletta’s reception. The Citizens on their part could rely on their block and strong attack to bring in the points, and their experience paid off in the final points of the set to annul Aloysians’ set point and end the set 26-24 in their favour.

Aloysians started off very well in the fourth set, stunning their opponents with a 4-0 advantage, but could not keep up the initial tempo. Valletta worked their way back into the set to go 18-13 up through some effective defence and serving and wrapped the set up with a 25-16 score and the game 3-1 in their favour.

The Super Cup is Valletta’s second honour this season after their triumph in the Pre-Season Cup that was played a few weeks ago.

Paola end commitments in European competition

Paola Hibs, who this year featured in the 2011 GM Capital Challenge Cup, lost their return leg of their first round fixture in this competition against Azerbaijan club Azerrail Baku  with a 3-0 scoreline. The set scores were 25-9, 25-14, 25-12 in favour of Azerrail Baku. In the first leg that was played in Malta a week earlier, Mark Hili’s girls lost 3-0 (25-7, 25-6, 25-10).

In the away leg Paola played better, as the scoreline indicates, earning more points and gaining more experience and this will serve them well as they return to Malta to defend all the honours that they won last year. Paola have kept the same players as last year and added national team player Daniela Bonnici to their lineup, thus making them the favourites this season.

This weekend’s results

Super Cup Men
VALLETTA v DEFENDERS ALOYSIANS: 3-1

Senior Women 1st Div
FLEUR-DE-LYS  v SOUTHEND: 3-1

Senior Women 2nd Div
FLYERS DEPIRO II v MELLIEHA TRITONES: 3-0
QORMI v TGIF: 3 – 1
BIRKIRKARA v SOUTHEND 2: 1-3

Senior Men Preliminary round
ALOYSIANS DEFENDERS v IKLIN : 3-1





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